Spokane gun shop, NRA file lawsuit against Washington’s assault weapon ban

Second Amendment

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he was “confident” the weapons ban would survive legal challenges.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Lawsuits challenging Washington state’s new ban on assault-style weapons are starting to trickle in, with a Spokane gun shop among them.  

Washington state became the tenth state to adopt a ban on the sale, manufacturing and import of assault weapons on Tuesday afternoon. By Wednesday morning, two federal lawsuits were filed challenging the ban, one from the National Rifle Association (NRA) on behalf of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and individual plaintiffs, and another from the Second Amendment Foundation.

The “individual plaintiffs” include Sharp Shooting, a gun store in Spokane, and a rifle Olympian from Spokane.

During the signing of House Bill 1240, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he was “confident” the weapons ban would survive legal challenges.

“We haven’t lost a case yet against the NRA or the Second Amendment Foundation when they’ve challenged common sense gun reform,” Ferguson said. “We are undefeated, and we plan to keep that record intact.” 

In the Eastern District of Washington, NRA-ILA filed a lawsuit against Ferguson and John Batiste, the Chief of Washington State Patrol (WSP).  

That complaint calls the ban “unquestionably unconstitutional” and cites a case law that reads, “A state may not prohibit an entire class of arms that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for a lawful purpose.” 

It goes on to argue, “Because modern semiautomatic rifles and the hundred of other arms banned under HB 1240 are arms in common use today, they are protected by the Second Amendment…rendering Washington’s effort to flatly ban them, flatly unconstitutional.” 

Amanda Banta of Spokane is another plaintiff listed in the lawsuit. She is a 2012 Olympian for Team USA in the 50-meter rifle 3 positions event and has been a member of the U.S. Rifle Team for 10 years.  

The complaint says under the new ban, she would no longer be able to purchase several different firearms for competitions.  

Aero Precision in Tacoma, one of the largest AR-15 rifle and part manufacturers in the country, is also joining the lawsuit. The complaint says nearly all the firearms it manufactures are now banned.  

A separate lawsuit was filed in the Western District Court by the Second Amendment Foundation. 

According to the lawsuit, a firearm must be both dangerous and unusual in order to be completely banned. It adds that firearms that are in common use, which include Washington’s banned firearms “are neither unusual nor dangerous.” 

Because the lawsuit alleges that assault-style rifles are in common use in Washington, the complaint claims the state cannot ban those weapons and the law itself should be considered unconstitutional.

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